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GUNS SAVE LIFE v. ALI: Lawsuit filed today against Cook County’s ammo, gun taxes.

December 17, 2015


Photo via Chicago Reader.

Cook County head honcho Toni Preckwinkle.


Guns Save Life, Inc. has filed suit against Cook County’s blatantly unconstitutional new ammunition tax, and along with that, the recently passed firearms tax in Guns Save Life v. Ali.

The suit relies in part on the United States Supreme Court case which ruled that citizens cannot “be required to pay a tax for the exercise of . . . a high constitutional privilege.” Follett v. Town of McCormick, 321 U.S. 578 (1944).

Just as taxing the right to vote is unconstitutional, or to attend church or a city council meeting would be unconstitutional, so too is this tax on the retail sale of ammunition.

Joining Guns Save Life in the suit is Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range and Marilyn Smolenski.  Maxon’s, a Cook County retail merchant, has seen sales suffer as people buy their guns at other retailers outside of Cook County to save money and avoid the punitive, unconstitutional tax.  Marilyn Smolenski, owner of Nickel and Lace and a member of Guns Save Life, is also harmed as an individual Cook County resident, by either being forced to pay the tax, incurring additional expense by traveling outside of Cook County to avoid the tax, or perhaps most detrimental, to exercise her rights less because of the added cost of the unconstitutional taxes.


Here is the complaint, as filed.


Here’s the NRA’s press release:

Fairfax, Va. (NRA) — The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce that it is supporting a lawsuit challenging Cook County’s blatantly unconstitutional tax on the retail sale of firearms and ammunition. The case, filed today in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, is Guns Save Life v. Ali. Guns Save Life is an independent not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment rights of Illinois citizens to keep and bear arms. The other plaintiffs are a resident of Cook County whose Second Amendment rights are targeted by Cook County’s tax and a Cook County retailer that is required to charge its customers the unconstitutional tax and that is harmed by having to charge more for its products than competitors in neighboring counties.

The United States Supreme Court has made clear that law-abiding citizens cannot “be required to pay a tax for the exercise of . . . a high constitutional privilege.” Follett v. Town of McCormick, 321 U.S. 578 (1944).Despite this clear guidance, Cook County has continued its long-running campaign against Second Amendment rights by imposing a tax of $25 on every firearm,and it is set to impose a tax of either $.01 or $.05 on every round of ammunitionsold at retail in Cook County. Since its enactment in 2012, the County’s tax on firearms has done nothing to make the streets of Cook County safer. Confronted with this evidence of failure, the Cook County Board of Commissioners chose to double down on its unconstitutional attack on the Second Amendment when it voted last month to impose a new tax on the sale of ammunition in Cook County.

The suit filed today challenges the County’s Firearms and Ammunition Tax Ordinance as an unconstitutional infringement of the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the Illinois Constitution. The Suit further alleges that the Firearms and Ammunition Tax violates the Uniformity Clause of the Illinois Constitution and is preempted by State law.

26 Responses to GUNS SAVE LIFE v. ALI: Lawsuit filed today against Cook County’s ammo, gun taxes.

  1. Christopher Watts on December 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    So i guess we’ll get to see if this one or the seattle lawsuit finishes court first. wouldn’t surprise me if they both get delayed waiting for the other to make a ruling so they can just blame the other judge and not take responsibility for upholding constitutional rights.
    but i’m a pessimist 🙂

  2. Jerry on December 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    John, is this the case you referred to at the Charleston GSL meeting last week?

    • jboch on December 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      It’s what I was hinting about, yes.

  3. JC on December 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    John, how can us loyal members support this? Can we just send checks to GSL and earmark them for the suit?

    • jboch on December 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm


      The money has already been spent. Just send a donation to GSL and I promise you it will be well spent to defend and promote everyone’s right to defend themselves.

      Given the threats we are making plans to meet head on, our spending on various educational and activism efforts in the northeast corner of the state are going to be a big part of our expenditures in 2016.


  4. Sam Whittemore on December 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    John and the rest of the Guns Save Life team:

    Congratulations on a job very well done. I know Chicago isn’t your primary location, but I’m so very proud you were willing to take up the mantle for Cook County gun owners…

    …particularly when other groups did nothing.

    Keep up the great work. I have to say I’m already pleased by how those donations you were seeking a while back are being spent.

    This is one very proud GSL member.


    • jboch on December 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm


    • Jerry on December 17, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      Even though Cook County (Chicago) may not be GSL’s “primary location”, as goes Chicago will go Illinois. If this flies unchallenged in Chitcago, the Chicago Dems that rule the Illinois legislature will bring it downstate.

  5. Hank on December 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Saw this on the Book of Face.

    This is great news.

    This is just the sort of activism and advocacy I wanted when I joined GSL a couple of years ago.

    Go get ’em! Keep squeezing Preckwinkle’s balls and don’t let them go, unless it’s to punt them to the moon.

  6. Bill1 on December 17, 2015 at 9:29 pm


    So GSL is stepping up to the plate to fight this BS.

    According to the info you have provided the plaintiffs have been damaged by a loss of business by the new tax law. That should help your case.

    Jon where do we stand on HB4359?

    • jboch on December 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      We need everyone to start writing letters and making calls.

      Let our people know that even the ACLU and USA Today are opposed to this, to say nothing of the great majority of people who are informed and engaged.


    • Dennis on December 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Maybe we should drop a note to our local Sheriff? I’m just thinking that its him and his people who are going to be asked to betray their Oath to The Constitution and try to confiscate guns from the people.

  7. DM on December 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    John, we are so proud of you and the GSL team. Congratulations.

  8. Ken on December 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Hey, God Bless you guys ! Even Crook County residents are entitled to the protections of the Constitution!

    John, would you explain how such a suit is financed? Is it from DUES?

    I’m making my year-end charitable contributions and would consider something like this a surely-worthy cause!


    *no cop-killers in my news feeds today, sorry guys.

    • jboch on December 17, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      I can’t comment on that.

      I will say the fundraising letter we sent out was very well received among the members, and we’re seeing results already, but as someone once said, “We haven’t yet begun to fight”.


    • ken on December 18, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Mine must’ve been lost in the mail.

      Suggestion: You post it on the site. You have a LOT of readers who may not be members.


      * no cop/killers as of yet today. I’ll keep you posted. Clash reports on Okemos, MI Walmart being STUPID to veteran employee, though.

  9. JM on December 17, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    More proud than ever to say I’m a GSL member!

    Thank you for bringing our civil rights fight to their own turf. It’s great to see us taking the offensive.

  10. Parabellum on December 17, 2015 at 10:36 pm


    Well done.

    A poll tax if there ever was such a thing.

    The mainstream media would be outraged if we taxed newspaper ink or TV & radio transmissions.

  11. Dyspeptic Skeptic on December 17, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Good shoot. Er, I meet “good suit”.

  12. bangbang on December 18, 2015 at 7:36 am


  13. DRAGAN on December 18, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Wishing you the best!:)

  14. Chris M on December 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Great job John , keep up the good work and thanks. Have a merry Christmas !!

  15. James Hopkins on December 21, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Thank God that this is being challenged! If not, where would it end? If they can legally charge a “tax”….which we ALL know is a penalty, of $25, $.05, $0.01, etc., then what’s to stop them from raising it to $1,000, $25, $10, etc.?

    Their plan, since they cannot abolish the 2AM or confiscate guns (yet), is to make buying and owning guns unaffordable.

    They all need to be thrown out of office…PERIOD!

    • Peter on December 22, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      The board is thinking they need more money and want to double it, $50, .10

  16. Jerry on December 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    John, is the Seattle decision likely to affect this suite?

    • DM on December 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      The Seattle decision came from King County Superior Court. King County is a lot like Cook County – maybe slightly less corrupt.

      I’m betting the Second Amendment Foundation will appeal.